How did President Andrew Jackson mistreat the Native Americans?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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President Andrew Jackson had a significant effect on Native Americans. Native American tribes were prominent in the American South, and so presented an obstacle to settlers. Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forcibly relocated inhabitants of the Five Civilized Tribes living east of the Mississippi River; this led to the infamous Trail of Tears.

This act directly punished those Native Americans who were attempting to assimilate into the spreading U.S. culture; many spoke English, held local jobs, or traded peacefully with white settlers, and Christianity was widespread, pushing out Native American religious practices. However, the encroachment of plantation farmers and aggressive, violent settlers (commonplace but not the norm) gave Jackson leeway to sign laws prohibiting Native Americans from owning land outright; this tacitly gave settlers permission to steal land and kill Native Americans. Jackson's personal view of Native Americans was condescending; he thought of them as sub-mental and inferior, and the Removal Act was seen by many as a humane method of getting Native Americans out of the way without overt warfare. For their part, the Five Civilized Tribes attempted to win their independence through litigation; they were blocked at most turns and ultimately failed. Many local tribes engaged in guerrilla warfare against settlers, again spurring violent retaliation.

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